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Thursday, Aug 04, 2016 - 23:27 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

All Asplode

I haven't been doing middle-of-the-week updates for ages now, but the past few days have brought such a bounty of dumpster fires, that it simply couldn't wait. Here we go!

Introducing The Nominees

The proud candidates for the post of President of the Free World have just been confirmed - with the FBI possibly weeping softly into their whiskies, after commencing their briefings on matters of national security.

So, in the red corner, our beloved GOD-EMPEROR TRUMP! We were applauding his pivot back in May, but as it turns out, he got us good; TRUMP has taken it meta, folks. He's pivoting on his pivot! It must be nth-dimensional chess! Or maybe, just maybe, the GOD-EMPEROR has entered berserkergang, and in his valorous blood-rage, has attained a state of invincible battle-madness, that no mortal can hope to withstand.

Despondent at his vaulting past Crooked Queen Hillary in the polls without so much as a scratch, the warrior-spirit of TRUMP came to a unremitting boil. And thus it was, to his unbridled delight, that a Great Khan emerged from the Crooked Queen's camp, to set his blade against the Lord of The Right. Brushing aside his craven advisors, the GOD-EMPEROR assented, and thus he donned his glorious panoply of war, and made to engage the enemy champion in honourable single combat.

Note flag in background
[N.B. Yes, it was during our PM's state visit; no prizes for guessing who he hopes will win, given that our economy's probably GG if the TPP gets blown up]
[N.N.B. But really, the current POTUS knows. Oh, he knows]
[Really N.N.B. "Kuan" got so hard to pronounce, meh?]

And so what if it was evidently an underhanded trap, and so what if all the world was arrayed against him? The GOD-EMPEROR yet rides undaunted into the fray, his brow crackling with psychic might, his mailed hands wielding his consecrated flaming words; alone, alone, the Emperor rides, alone as heroes always are, into the swirling chaos.

And treachery! From his camp, high perfidy! His faithless vizier the horns he sounded, of timid retreat, of shameful surrender! But the boundless wisdom of the GOD-EMPEROR was great indeed, and with his hand he summoned the fire, and turned the betrayal back upon its gutless progenitor.

Wild and free the GOD-EMPEROR rides, as the legions of his foes come into view; millions upon millions, they are the brainwashed masses, come under the sibilant spell of the false prophets of the globalist cabal. They are too much, his divine heart knew, but it was of no import. What mattered, was that one stood against many, that he be true to his loyal Imperial subjects, who had put full faith and trust in him.

And not I want to say, but...
(Original sources: sli.mg & r/The_Donald)

Alright, ham time over. So this is it, right? The TRUMP campaign is finally imploding? About that, let's turn our attention to the blue corner... yes, shitstorm there too.

It's of a different flavour, though. While TRUMP has been picking fights with the big guys on his own side, he appears to have retained the adoration of the little fellows (compare his rally attendances against hers), while it's just the opposite for Crooked Hillary: while the DNC establishment is solidly behind her, the convention delegates have been using marker pens to modify their stock banners, from "Hillary" to... "Liar".

And speaking of the Democratic establishment being behind her, we weren't joking when we told you that they had rigged the whole primary in her favour. Remember all those young n' tender Sanders supporters, who scrimped and scrounged and handed over their college funds and lunch money, to the tune of over two hundred million dollars? Well, from the DNC email leaks, their party leadership had chosen Hillary from the start.

Maybe it's just the bigoted conservative news media slinging mud... eh, the DNC's leadership is resigning en masse. And how does Hillary handle the person overseeing this implicitly self-admitted corruption? Why, hire her, of course! Not only that, she's already pilfering state-level funding?

All I can say is, good luck, America. You'll need it.

Much better DNC intro than the actual 1984-esque theme...

Bitgone Into The Ether

Next up, Bitcoin. And yes, another massive exchange cock-up. Bitfinex, leading non-China-based outfit, has just informed their incredulous customers that 120000 Bitcoins have gone poof, and that they're sorry for their loss (not Bitfinex's)

Okay, deep breath, rewind a bit - how in the hell did this happen, again? I mean, it's already happened so many times - Mt.Gox being the largest, definitely, but Bitstamp wasn't that long ago, and we're leaving all the minor players out here - how did they leave one hundred and twenty thousand coins out in the open?! Where was the security?

Long story short, Bitfinex had operated on the cold storage principle, not that long ago - the bulk of Bitcoin held was in addresses completely separated from the Internet, which makes them in theory completely inaccessible. The drawback of this is that there will be transaction delays whenever the online "hot wallet" runs out of funds, which would necessitate an employee to physically top it up from the cold storage.

However, Bitfinex then came up against US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulations, that mandated that they either register as a licensed futures trader, or maintain personal accounts. Actually, they had by all accounts been preparing to do that anyway, and proudly unveiled a multi-signature setup with BitGo - "the leader in blockchain security". In theory, it was as bulletproof as one could expect - an attacker would have to compromise both Bitfinex and BitGo, and moreover navigate through BitGo's "innovative security services". Cool!

In actuality, from what is currently known, Bitfinex's active key was hacked. But isn't this exactly what multi-key security was supposed to mitigate against? Well, it seems that when Bitfinex requests transactions using their single key, BitGo merely rubber-stamps it with their own key - which makes one wonder of the point of it all. Not only that, one could have expected some cursory circuit-breaker, given the doubtlessly very suspicious circumstance of what was almost certainly BitGo's largest customer, hurriedly moving the bulk of their assets, in the space of hours... but no. Nothing.

As it stands, claims about insurance have mysteriously vanished from BitGo's site, but it would have been a mere drop in the ocean in the best case. It has been left to Bitfinex's very-harried 23 year-old PR guy to face the fury, which he has been doing with considerable panache, albeit sidestepping the most urgent question - how will the losses be settled?

Disregarding the unlikely case in which the hacker is caught, and the slightly-less unlikely one in which a white knight swoops in and supplies the missing US$70 million in assets in return for a (huge) share of Bitfinex's equity and customer base, the main choice appears to be between socializing losses using all available assets, and leaving it to luck: if your account was cleaned out, too bad; otherwise, congratulations!

Bitfinex appear to be leaning towards the latter, from how they are working towards read-only access to account balances. On this, it should be stressed that customers had completely no say, or external control, over their "multi-sig accounts". Of course, given that only Bitcoin was stolen, those holding purely US dollars, Litecoin or Ether have come out strongly in support of this solution, and drawing analogies with bank strongboxes - if some of them are burgled, the contents of intact strongboxes are not liquidated as part compensation.

Of course, one imagines Bitcoin hodlers - and those who had lent out margin funding for (now lost) Bitcoin - not to appreciate this line of thought, and push for at least partial reimbursement. Lawsuits to this end should be a near-certainty, since bankruptcy would probably result in this method of disbursement. The most incredible part of all this, however, is that the theft of almost 1% of all Bitcoin in existence, has resulted in just a 3% drop in the price, after some huge volatility. But lesson here, kids - be your own bank, don't trust the exchanges more than you have to.

One thing that's definitely not happening is a hard fork like what Ethereum had resorted to, and as it turns out, the pre-forked chain (now branded Ethereum Classic) has grabbed about a quarter of its market cap. And to top the whole clusterf**k off, Craig Wright's back at it again, with impeccable timing. What in the... is that Karpeles too?!

Never a dull day in crypto, folks.

Meanwhile, Back Home...

DBS likely to write off over S$300 million on Swiber, which puts the Bitfinex hack into perspective. And, it's the Worker's Party's turn to niao the incumbents on their many lapses, but from what happened same time last year, it'll be the same old wayang, before the local media forgets all about it...

Front dog: incumbent administration. Rear puppy: citizens

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Next: Of Illicit Substance

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